Reflection for Thursday, July 1, 1999: 13th week in Ordinary Time.
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The readings today are about faith-specifically faith in God's wisdom, healing power and forgiveness. In Genesis, God tests Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his only son. Abraham demonstrates his faith and trust in God in his willingness to sacrifice everything for God. His faith is paradigmatic for all believers. There are two miracles that take place in the healing of the paralytic in Matthew's Gospel, the actual physical healing that allows the paralytic to pick up his mat and walk, and the forgiveness of his sins. Both miracles require God's healing power. However, since the scribes refuse to believe that Jesus has the power to forgive sins, he demonstrates a concrete manifestation of this power by physically healing the paralytic.||In my own faith journey, the preponderance of miracles are the one's which are the hardest to appreciate and truly accept, God's forgiveness and healing power in relationship to God, self and others. Much like the scribes, I find it hard to accept the miracle of God's healing power in God's daily manifestation in my life and seek instead, like the scribes in the story, a tangible "proof" or physical sign. The Evangelist establishes a clear link between this physical/spiritual healing miracle and the following story, "The Calling of Matthew," which begins in v. 9, thereby reiterating the healing power of Jesus' call and the faith required to accept this invitation to discipleship. "As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office; and he said to him, 'Follow me.' And he rose and followed him." In this statement, the physical infirmity of the previous healing is juxtaposed with Matthew's spiritual infirmity; tax collecting was considered a sinful occupation. Just as Jesus' love, compassion and forgiveness healed the paralytic, so too, they heal Matthew and, indeed, are offered to all people, in and through the call to discipleship. No one is excluded from Christ's healing power, neither the physically nor spiritually infirmed. Perhaps the greatest challenge in my own spiritual journey, to discipleship, is to truly accept Christ's healing power and forgiveness, to pick up my mat and walk.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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